'I didn't in­tend to harm Tyler' - Mur­der ac­cused

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By STEPHEN BRIGGS stephen.briggs@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Et­stephenb

THE man ac­cused of mur­der­ing five-year-old Tyler Whe­lan has de­scribed how he kicked the boy in anger af­ter the young­ster had hid­den from him.

Elvis Lee gave ev­i­dence at his trial at Cam­bridge Crown Court yes­ter­day, where he said how he had been “an­noyed” with Tyler on the morn­ing of his death on March 7, 2011.

In an emo­tional af­ter­noon in the court, Lee de­scribed how he had bit­ten Tyler mo­ments be­fore kick­ing him – and said he had not ad­mit­ted his part in Tyler’s death for more than a year be­cause he was em­bar­rassed by what had hap­pened.

Lee (34), of Crab­tree, Pas­ton, ad­mits the man­slaugh­ter of Tyler but has pleaded not guilty to his mur­der and two counts of cru­elty to a child.

Tyler’s mother, Stephanie Whe­lan (27), who lived at Sheep­walk, Pas­ton, at the time of the in­ci­dent, de­nies caus­ing or al­low­ing the death of a child and two counts of cru­elty to a child.

Lee, who is a fa­ther-of-three and orig­i­nally from London, told the jury how he and Stephanie Whe­lan had been wo­ken up much ear­lier than usual by sounds down­stairs.

He said: “I was wo­ken up on the morn­ing of March 7 ear­lier than nor­mal.

“I heard some­thing from down­stairs. I re­mem­ber Steph say­ing some­one was down­stairs.

“At first I stayed in bed, but Steph started get­ting up. She said we should go down­stairs and I fol­lowed her.

“We went into the kitchen and saw Tyler ly­ing be­tween two stools.”

Lee ex­plained to the jury that Tyler had told the cou­ple how he had fallen from the break­fast bar.

They de­cided he should not go to school that morn­ing be­cause Tyler’s nose was bleed­ing and he had been sick.

He said Whe­lan had gone to take Tyler’s sis­ter to school later that morn­ing, while he and Tyler had gone back to bed.

He said: “I then heard creak­ing on the stairs, which I thought was Tyler sneak­ing back down.

“I called for him but he did not respond. I got up and went to see if he was still in bed but he was not there.

“I called for him again but he did not an­swer.

“I went to look for him but I could not find him. I started to panic. I went up­stairs to get my phone to text his mum.”

The court heard Lee say he had texted Whe­lan say­ing he was in “hys­ter­ics” try­ing to find Tyler and asked her to come home. But while Whe­lan was re­spond­ing he had found Tyler.

He said: “I found him be­hind the arm­chair. I picked him up and put him on the chair.

“I was re­ally an­noyed. I was rais­ing my voice to him, ask­ing why he had hid­den and why he had sneaked down­stairs again. He just looked down.

“I was wind­ing my­self up. I kept ask­ing and ask­ing and he to­tally ig­nored me.

“I had been told the week­end be­fore that he had bit­ten one of my chil­dren. I was ask­ing him about it and he didn’t an­swer. I was us­ing a raised voice. I was pretty an­gry.

“I asked him how he would like it if he was bit­ten? He didn’t say any­thing, so I bit his leg. He tried to pull away and slid off the chair and tried to get away from me.

“I tried to grab him but he wrig­gled free. He was on all fours and mov­ing to­wards the door­way.

“I kicked him. I was an­gry. He hit the door or the door frame. I thought ‘what have I done?’ He was ly­ing winded on the floor, mak­ing a gasp­ing sound. I didn’t in­tend to kick him, let alone harm him.

“I was apol­o­gis­ing, say­ing ‘ I’m sorry mate, I didn’t mean it’. He looked shocked but he asked me for his break­fast.”

Through­out the af­ter­noon hear­ing, Whe­lan sobbed un­con­trol­lably while there were also tears and shouts from peo­ple sit­ting in the public gallery.

Lee also stopped on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions to wipe tears from his eyes.

Along with telling the jury his ver­sion of what hap­pened on March 7, 2011, Lee also told the court why he had not ad­mit­ted to kick­ing Tyler un­til shortly be­fore the trial.

He said: “I wasn’t sure that I was re­spon­si­ble for his death.

“I was em­bar­rassed about kick­ing and bit­ing him and I didn’t want my fam­ily find­ing out.

“I thought it would af­fect me see­ing my chil­dren again.”

Lee also told the court he had been tak­ing an In­te­grated Do­mes­tic Abuse Pro­gramme, to try and help him with anger man­age­ment.

He de­scribed his re­la­tion­ship with Stephanie Whe­lan as “volatile” and said he had phys­i­cally as­saulted her in Jan­uary 2011.

The trial con­tin­ues.

trial: Elvis Lee de­scribed to the court how he bit and kicked Tyler Whe­lan in anger while his mother Stephanie Whe­lan was out of the house.

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